Test Your Internet Speed

View speeds offered in your area.

What do these numbers mean?

Upload Speed

Upload speed refers to how fast your internet connection can send files and information to a website. Most internet activities don’t require much upload speed. However, if you participate in activities that do require a high upload speed, you’ll definitely notice if it’s too slow.

What kinds of internet activities require a lot of upload speed?

  • Online gaming (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.)
  • Video chat (Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
  • Sharing large files (torrenting, high-volume cloud storage, etc.)

Download Speed

Download speed refers to how fast your internet connection can receive data from websites and other internet servers. Virtually all internet activities require download speed, but some use more than others. The more data you download at one time, the more speed you’ll need. So, the things you do on the internet and the number of people using your connection will both affect how fast you internet speed should be.

What kinds of internet activities require a lot of download speed?

  • Streaming multiple videos at once
  • Streaming in 4K Ultra HD
  • Downloading large files

Why test your internet speed?

Running periodic internet speed tests helps you monitor the health of your internet connection. A fast, reliable internet connection can make an enormous difference in your online experience.

When you test your internet speed, you’ll know if your connection works properly because the test will show if you’re receiving the upload speed and download speed you’re paying for. If your internet speed test results are far lower than what you’re paying for, switching Internet Service Providers (ISPs) altogether may be the best option.

Once you know how much speed you’re actually getting, compare it to the speed you need for the internet activities you enjoy. Next, check if the internet package you subscribe to meets your needs.

If your speed is too low, you’ll want to upgrade your internet package. If your speed far exceeds what you need, you may want to downgrade your package to save a little money on your bill each month.

Enter your zip to view ISPs available in your area and the speeds they offer.

What internet speed do I need?

The amount of internet speed you need depends on how you use the internet and the number of devices connected to your network. We covered the kinds of activities that use a lot of bandwidth in the upload speed vs. download speed section above, but the number of devices or users is just as important. The more users and devices you have, the more speed you’ll need.

To get the best speed recommendation, try our “How Much Speed Do I Need?” tool.

What’s the difference between speed and bandwidth?

Although they’re often used interchangeably, internet speed is slightly different than bandwidth. Internet speed is the rate information flows through your internet connection. Bandwidth is the capacity of your internet connection to carry that information. So, when an internet connection has a lot of bandwidth (25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload), it’s a broadband connection.

If you think of your internet connection as plumbing, your bandwidth would be the size of the pipe, and your internet speed would be how fast the water flows through the pipe.

If you think of your internet connection as plumbing, your bandwidth would be the size of the pipe, and your internet speed would be how fast the water flows through the pipe.

When Internet Service Providers advertise their download speeds, what they’re really advertising is their bandwidth. That’s why they always say “up to” a given speed. They can advertise the capacity of their connections, but the speed at which information flows through those connections will vary.

Although you should always expect some variation in speed, if the results of your internet speed test show a significantly lower speed than what your internet subscription says it should be, your ISP may not be delivering the full bandwidth you’re paying for.

Compare ISPs available in your area and
the speeds they offer by entering your zip.

Learn more about internet speed.

To learn more about internet speed and related topics like home networking, IP addresses, and the different types of internet, see “The Consumer’s Guide to Internet Speed.

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